Cutting Carbon Footprint | Heated Sidewalks

Urban Parasol

Urban Parasol

Our friends at Atlantic Cities have written about the conflict experienced by smokers who would like to stay warm outside (alongside the restauranteurs who want their business) and environmentalists who see heated sidewalks as a giant waste of energy.

By definition, these outdoor terraces must be open-air – otherwise, you couldn’t smoke in them. But that design requirement also means that it’s nearly impossible to efficiently heat these spaces. (We’ll pause here for a moment to also acknowledge that this is very much a first-world design problem.)

It’s possible, though, that technology could bridge these warring factions in Paris and elsewhere, allowing cities to keep both their smoking havens and their environmental credibility. The city of Paris submitted this problem to the LLGA | Cities Pilot the Future challenge, which for the past four years as been trying to match urban conundrums with innovators all over the world. This year, the challenge corralled calls for solutions from 22 cities to problems ranging from health inequality to traffic congestion. Researchers unearthed a suite of solutions for each one, and the companies and organizations behind them are now vying to implement real-world pilot programs in the host cities. The winners will be announced in San Francisco in May (and we’ll plan to look into a few more of these solutions before then).

Paris’s plea for technological help with its café problem solicited some pretty interesting ideas, from the self-sufficient “Urban Parasols” seen above to photovoltaic devices embedded in “SolarFloors.” That second idea comes from a company called OTEM2000, which is envisioning a combination of photovoltaic glass tents and energy-producing “smart floors.”


One other idea comes from a company called Dext Heat Recovery, which proposes that if restaurants can’t efficiently heat their terraces, at least they could offset the waste by capturing more of the excess heat produced in the kitchen.

Full story: 4 Out-There Designs to Cut the Carbon Footprint of Heated Sidewalks

Published on Apr 05, 2013 in The Atlantic Cities